How To Be Underestimated

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Once again I bring you another helpful article in my inane series of how-tos.

It’s probably a natural tendency to try to present yourself as an imposing and knowledgeable person. I, however, have a different tactic to suggest; I’d like to teach you how to be underestimated and show you the benefits that follow.

  • First of all, underestimation by others is dependent upon your presentation of yourself. If you don’t want people to see your true capabilities, then don’t brag about all of your accomplishments. (I graduated first in my class… I have 17 degrees… I speak 23 languages and 34 variations of those languages and I understand ASL.)

XKCD - Toot -

  • What the underestimation tactic is not: It is not the same as under-performance or lack of confidence. You want to know that you have the ability to do something, but you don’t want to care if others know your abilities. (Knowledge is power and in this case, if you want to have the upper hand, you have to pretend that the upper hand belongs to someone else, allowing them to perceivably have control.)
  • If there’s someone who’s being very boisterous and vocal, yet you know that their opinion is wrong, let them try it. It will a) help that person by forcing upon them the realization that they are wrong and b) it will make others more open to your opinions.
  • Sit back and watch. You learn a lot about others just from watching them. Listen to others’ opinions and postulations and allow the more vocal people to work out possible scenarios to problems. Remember, as long as the people are not in a position of authority over you, it really doesn’t matter what they think about you. (Now, if those people are going to give you pop tarts for behaving a certain way, you need to humor them.)
  • Use this tactic wisely. It’s not smart to pretend like you’re an average person if you’re at a job interview or in a situation that needs resolution quickly. (Don’t hold back the info that you’re an expert on the Canis Lupus when you’re being ringed in by a pack of hungry gray wolves…)

Go ahead and give it a try the next time you’re sitting at a geek convention waiting for the  Zune and iPod representatives to finish duking it out. Let them present all of their options. Then walk up from your unnoticed little corner and say, I got you all beat – and pull out your Tape Cassette Walkman. That’ll leave ’em speechless. I promise. 😉